One day in 2010 when I was spending time in Los Angeles, I realised that I was at 34º02 latitude.
This is the exact same latitude as the city of my birth – Rabat, Morocco:34.02. 34 is also the amount of years I had been on this planet.
Within a week I was on the road.
I have at this point traveled from the Pacific Ocean (Los Angeles) through to the Atlantic ocean (North Carolina) and through Morocco, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and China.
I wanted to find a way of looking at the ordinary in a unique way. I want to lend a bit of poetry to that which is mundane.
I became a sort of creative pilgrim with the desire to explore the world in a new way – along the 34º.
I left on a wing and prayer. I took the road less travelled (or the road not taken) by experiencing everything without judgement, analysis and preconceptions.
Part performance art, part photography, the series has me tracing a line across latitude 34.
It is taking me through landscapes and mindscapes while driving hours without a soul in sight, no one to talk to. I am not sitting comfortably in the cosy confines of landscape photography.
This series addresses connections and disconnections: what links us, relates to us and also what is far away, different and mysterious.
It has also led me to investigate and question the notion of home, culture identity and the notion of non place.
I ask myself, “is home a physical place? in the emotions? the logical mind? about geography history and ancestry?”
Going to the other side of the world to find the connection and the sense of belonging inherent to our culture and identity.
There are three parts to this body of work, the first, immediate part are the photographs taken along the 34º.
These photographs represent an awareness of (or the occasional denial of) place and identity.
The second will be a book of the photographs, the anecdotes and aphorisms written along the way.
The third part of the work will be a mixed media conceptual work reflecting on the journey – using maps, thread, words overheard, dialogue, aphorisms.
I try to catch glimpses of the in-between, where poetry sneaks in, poetry where beauty exist. Beauty that is found in cracks, fissures, scars, and the lines of time and history, the dialogue between man and nature, technology and tradition, new and old.
Having people see “reality ” in a new way is a leitmotiv in all of my work. People begin to appreciate their immediate environment and view what they consider ordinary in a different way.
With affect and a concept I turned a sterile data, a number, 34 in into an art project that those I meet on my way are excited to be part of.
The series has both a temporal and physical aspect. I am travelling through time and space, time and spacial zones.
I have the ambition to show the final work in the different countries on the 34º.
The series is inclusive, of the people , the cities, the landscapes, the cultures, the languages.
The next part of the series is to go to the Middle East and Asia and at 34º south: Chile ( Santiago), Uruguay(Montevideo), Argentina (Buenos Aires), South Africa (Cape Town).
As humans we like to make sense of things, (and ourselves), link them, map them, relate to them. It’s one of the processes I use in my work.I used sterile numbers
I am using the concept of the line to show borders, links, separation, and an opportunity to catch the permanent and the ephemeral.
Lines can have a destination or they can go nowhere.
On a plane to Morocco, I was seated next to someone who described my series as “the most beautiful job in the world because artists dream and create which makes the rest of us dream and wonder as well”.
Latitude 34 became an attitude 34.